GFM Network News

Wheat seeds spilling from hand, close-up

PBR enforcement numbers highest on record

Financial penalties can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on the level of illegal sales

This past year was the busiest on record for plant breeders’ rights education and enforcement. Todd Hyra, western Canadian business manager for SeCan, said there were over 400 advertisements for seed sales that required investigation industry-wide through the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA), the body established to protect intellectual property rights. “SeCan alone had 40

(Dave Bedard photo)

PBR breach to cost Saskatchewan seed grower $150K

A Saskatchewan seed grower will pay $150,000 to SeCan — the largest penalty in the seed company’s history — for breaching SeCan’s plant breeders rights (PBR). Harvey Marcil of Pasqua Farms near Moose Jaw, Sask., has also agreed to stop making unauthorized seed sales and was expelled from SeCan’s membership, Todd Hyra, SeCan’s business manager

Find out the type of Plant Breeders’ Rights a variety has and who has those rights at

What you can do to comply with seed laws

The first step is buying certified seed, the second is documenting it

The simplest way for farmers to avoid breaching Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) rules, including under the newly implemented UPOV ’91, is to buy certified seed, says Lorne Hadley, executive director of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA). What constitutes a breach? It boils down to buying seed that doesn’t return a royalty to the variety’s


Canterra, Limagrain plan cereal breeding j.v.

Canada’s recent moves to tighten protections of plant breeders’ rights are getting the credit for encouraging a new private-sector joint venture in cereal seed development for the Prairie market. Canterra Seeds and French farmer co-operative Limagrain on Thursday announced they would further tie up their wheat variety commercialization work through a new joint seed breeding

(Country Guide file photo)

Canada ratifies UPOV ’91 seed treaty

Canadian crop commodity groups are hailing the federal government’s move to ratify Canada’s participation in the international UPOV ’91 treaty as a signal the country is “open for national and international investment.” Canada’s representatives to the World Trade Organization, on Friday in Geneva, deposited the government’s “instrument of ratification” for the 1991 Act of the

wheat with green stem

Editorial: The farm organizations ‘that matter’

The recent decision to join UPOV ’91, the international agreement on plant breeders’ rights, was part of Bill C-18, “The Agricultural Growth Act.” Back in the day, it would have been called something like “An Act Regarding the Application of Plant Breeders’ Rights in Canada.” The previous Bill C-18 would have been “An Act to

Gerry Ritz, Canadian Agriculture MInister

Strong support as Agricultural Growth Act becomes law

The main dissenter is the National Farmers Union. KAP wants farmers to be consulted on the regulations

There was applause here when plant breeders, seed companies and farmers at the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale heard the Agricultural Growth Act with its stronger intellectual property rights was about to receive royal assent. Immediately following the bill becoming law last week, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz tabled a treaty in Parliament

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, shown here last month in Saskatoon, on Friday announced royal assent for his Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act. (

Ritz’s Agricultural Growth Act now law

Banff — There was applause here when plant breeders, seed companies and farmers at the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale heard the Agricultural Growth Act, with its stronger intellectual property rights, was about to receive royal assent. Immediately after the bill received royal assent Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz tabled a treaty

hand running through a pile of grain

Right to save seed will be absolutely clear, Ritz vows

The government has introduced amendments to its Agricultural Growth Act 
to make the language around seed saving clearer

Legislation updating plant breeders’ rights will be amended to make it absolutely clear that farmers can save and replant seeds from crops they have grown, says Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. It was one of several amendments the government plans for the Agriculture Growth Act, which was forced through second reading in the Commons in June.

Hand spilling grain onto black soil.

Agriculture debate on Bill C-18 sours quickly

The government says opposition MPs, but critics say the government was late introducing the legislation for debate

Opposition MPs have lots of questions and comments about the implications of government legislation to improve the rights of seed developers and change farm support programs. However, when they challenged some provisions in C-18, the Canadian Agricultural Growth Act, during the first few hours of second-reading debate, the government accused them of trying to hijack